Writing a theme statement.

By. Jaelon Dirden & Isaac Figeroua

What is a theme?

A theme is a central message of a literary work. Not the same as a subject, A subject is not a theme because it can be expressed in one or two words.

Do's & Don'ts

Do's

  • Do express the theme as an insight into life.
  • Do express the theme in your own words.
  • Do Draw a general insight from a characters behavior.

Don'ts

  • Don't express the theme as a subject or topic
  • Don't express the theme as a moral
  • Don't refer to specific characters in a thematic statement.

Steps to writing a theme

  1. Choose an abstract concept that the work explores
  2. State what the literary work asserts about the abstract concept
  3. Write a sentence combing both ideas

Example of theme statements

  • In Shakespeare's The merchants of Venice, Shakespeare explores the idea of loyalty by showing how adamant the characters can be about their friendships.


  • In Shakespeare's The merchants of Venice, Shakespeare shows the theme of revenge by showing how the characters will stop at nothing to get back at people.


  • In Shakespeare's The merchants of Venice, Shakespeare shows the theme of love by showing how passionate two characters can be with each other.